Water Authority gets go-ahead to refinance bonds

Commissioners approved the water authority’s refinance plan on Wednesday, January 6. The board previously denied the water authority’s request in December.

The board’s approval allows the water authority to proceed forward with refinancing their 2010 bond debt. The move will save the water authority approximately $2.5–$2.8 million in interest over the next six years. Current interest rates for new bonds are near one-percent compared to five-percent interest on the existing bonds.

The question before the board of commissioners was to reaffirm the two mill property tax through which the bonds are backed. The two mill tax — collected since 1984 for the purpose of capital projects — is scheduled to end in 2030. The refinancing does not affect the end date for the two mills.

Savings Plan

Since December, the water authority board approved new language about their plan for the cost savings. The language incorporates into the formal resolution the authority’s plan to reinvest the funds.

The authority committed to use the savings from refinancing, as realized over time, for the following:

  1. Half (1/2) of the annual savings will be applied to debt reduction, and
  2. Half (1/2) of the annual savings will be placed in a special projects account to be equally divided among each commission district of Henry County. Funds will assist with water or sewer system improvement projects in said districts.

The water authority maintains a 30-year capital improvement plan updated every five years. Planned improvements total approximately $900 million dollars in future investment. Some examples of capital projects include upgrades at major facilities, like an upcoming expansion of the Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, and technology improvements such as improved water meters.

The water authority and its capital projects play a major role in future development possibilities within the county. For example, areas with sewer service can be developed into smaller residential lots than areas without sewer.

The featured image is an aerial photo of the Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Photo credit to Henry County Water Authority.

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